Influence of blade aerodynamic model on the prediction of helicopter high-frequency airloads

Mary E. Kelly, Richard Brown

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Brown’s vorticity transport model has been used to investigate the influence of the blade aerodynamic model on the accuracy with which the high-frequency airloads associated with helicopter blade–vortex interactions can be predicted. The model yields an accurate representation of the wake structure yet allows significant flexibility in the way that the blade loading can be represented. A simple lifting-line model and a somewhat more sophisticated liftingchord model, based on unsteady thin aerofoil theory, are compared. A marked improvement in the accuracy of the predicted high-frequency airloads of the higher harmonic control aeroacoustic rotor is obtained when the liftingchord model is used instead of the lifting-line approach, and the quality of the prediction is affected less by the computational resolution of the wake. The lifting-line model overpredicts the amplitude of the lift response to blade–vortex interactions as the computational grid is refined, exposing the fundamental deficiencies in this approach when modeling the aerodynamic response of the blade to interactions with vortices that are much smaller than its chord. The airloads that are predicted using the lifting-chord model are relatively insensitive to the resolution of the computation, and there are fundamental reasons to believe that properly converged numerical solutions may be attainable using this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-494
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • helicopters
  • helicopter rotor blades
  • aerodynamic model

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